The knee injury suffered — and re-suffered — by Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III against the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday afternoon’s wild-card loss could very well be serious enough to keep the star player out for a significant period of time.
As reported by the Washington Post, Griffin was diagnosed by Dr. James Andrews with a torn lateral collateral ligament in his right knee. There is also believed to be damage to Griffin’s anterior cruciate ligament, but that will not be determined until Dr. Andrews performs the surgery on Griffin’s LCL. That procedure is expected to take place in the next few days. Andrews would then determine if ACL surgery will be necessary.
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan has been heavily criticized for his handling of Griffin’s knee injury, which first happened in a Week 14 overtime win against the Baltimore Ravens. Griffin returned for the last two games of the regular season and the wild-card game against Seattle, but he was clearly impacted by the knee injury.
In the first quarter of the Seahawks game, Griffin’s knee buckled in the turf at FedEx Field, and from that point through the fourth quarter, the injury certainly seemed even worse — Griffin could barely run and could not consistently plant on his back foot to throw. When Griffin’s knee took another bad turn late in the fourth quarter, Shanahan finally took Griffin off the field and replaced him with Kirk Cousins.
James C. Dreese, a doctor for the University of Maryland athletic teams who is not affiliated with the Redskins, told the Post that the recovery for an LCL surgery generally takes longer than one for an ACL injury.
“When the collateral ligaments are involved,” Dreese said, “the concern in the long term is that controlling the rotational component of the knee can be more difficult.”
The controversy surrounding Shanahan’s handling began in earnest when Andrews told Robert Klemko of USA Today Sports that he disputed the coach’s account about Griffin’s readiness to re-enter the Baltimore game. Andrews later backed Shanahan’s story in a conversation with the Post.
“Coach Shanahan didn’t lie about it, and I didn’t lie,” Andrews said on Monday. “I didn’t get to examine [Griffin’s knee] because he came out for one play, didn’t let us look at him and on the next play, he ran through all the players and back out onto the field. Coach Shanahan looks at me like, ‘Is he OK?’ and I give him the ‘Hi’ sign as in, ‘He’s running around, so I guess he’s OK.’ But I didn’t get to check him out until after the game. It was just a communication problem. Heat of battle. I didn’t get to tell him I didn’t get to examine the knee. Mike Shanahan would never have put him out there at risk just to win a game.”